Common Component Analysis for Multiple Covariance Matrices

Date of Submission: 
August 4, 2010
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We consider the problem of finding a suitable common low-dimensional subspace for accurately representing a given set of covariance matrices. When the set contains only one covariance matrix, the subspace is given by Principal Component Analysis (PCA). For multiple covariance matrices, we term the problem Common Component Analysis (CCA). While CCA can be posed as a tensor decomposition problem, standard approaches to tensor decomposition have two critical issues: (i) Tensor decomposition methods are iterative and rely on the initialization. A bad initialization may lead to poor local optima; (ii) For a given level of approximation error, one does not know how to choose a suitable low dimensionality. In this paper, we present a detailed analysis of CCA which yields an effective initialization and iterative algorithms for the problem. The proposed methodology has provable approximation guarantees w.r.t. the global optimum, and also allows one to choose the dimensionality for a given level of approximation error. We also establish conditions under which the methodology will obtain the global optimum. We illustrate the effectiveness of the proposed method through extensive experiments on synthetic data as well as two real stock market datasets, where major financial events can be visualized in low dimensions.